Yesterday, a Gizmodo report alleged that Facebook’s human curators had been manipulating the trending news section to kill conservative stories — allegations that Facebook carefully didn’t deny in a blandly worded response. Now, the US Senate Commerce Committee, which oversees communications and the internet, has asked for real answers.
Amazon sent out media invites on Friday for a press event that will be held in New York City on September 28th. The invitation does not provide a hint toward what will be unveiled during the presentation, although we expect the company to finally take the wraps off of its first Android tablet. The most recent rumors have suggested that Amazon will undercut the price of the iPad by hundreds of dollars, and Amazon could price its tablet in the $250 range. We exclusively reported that Amazon was working on an entry-level dual-core “Coyote” tablet and a quad-core “Hollywood” tablet this past May. Recent rumors have suggested the company’s first tablet device will offer a 7-inch display and will run Android with a custom Amazon user interface on top. BGR will be at Amazon’s event to cover all the action as it unfolds, so be sure to tune in!
Amid the flurry of news reports about Steve Jobs’s departure as CEO of Apple was one hidden gem: Apple is reportedly working on a new way to deliver video content to televisions. The Wall Street Journal noted that Tim Cook, who has stepped up as the new CEO of Apple, will need to work on boosting Apple’s presence in the digital video market. “Apple is working on a new technology to deliver video to televisions, and has been discussing whether to launch a subscription TV service,” the report said. It is still unclear what Apple’s new technology is, but in July we saw a unique patent for sharing media across iOS devices, which could very well be used with an Apple TV product. In addition, there have been rumors that Apple has considered purchasing the online streaming service Hulu, which could certainly help it kick-start a subscription TV platform.
Research In Motion is currently working on a media box codenamed “BlackBerry Cyclone” that will launch later this fall, BlackBerry news site NerdBerry.net reports. The rumored media hub is said to be similar to Apple’s iOS-based Apple TV box, which connects to a television and plays streaming video content from iTunes. The BlackBerry Cyclone’s purported capabilities include Netflix streaming, YouTube streaming and streaming from media devices connected to the same Wi-Fi network. The unit will also reportedly feature an HDMI-out port. The move would be a peculiar one from RIM, as it does not have an iTunes competitor to speak of and even with the extremely popular multimedia market, the Apple TV has not been an overly successful device for Apple. The Cupertino-based company announced the million-unit milestone for its refreshed Apple TV late last year, but we haven’t heard much about it since that time. RIM is also in the midst of prepping its first QNX-powered smartphone for release in 2012, not to mention seven BlackBerry handsets due to launch later this year, so we would hope the bulk of its attention is focused on these infinitely more important products. More →
Another executive is out of Waterloo, ON. Today, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that it has confirmed the departure of Brian Wallace, VP of Digital Marketing and Media. The report also confirms that Wallace has been scooped up by Samsung Mobile. This move comes amid a flurry of other departures from RIM recently, including the company’s chief marketing officer, VP of brand creativity (what?), and chief operating officer. Samsung confirmed the report, WSJ says, though the company wouldn’t make Wallace available for comment. More →
A new report published by Millennial Media paints a picture of the global smartphone landscape in April of 2011. The company found that Android continued its domination in pure market share, holding a 53% of impressions on the company’s network. Apple’s iOS came in second with 28% and RIM’s BlackBerry OS came in third with 16%; Symbian, Windows, and “other” totalled under 4% of impressions. While Google continues to maim and destroy in terms of handset numbers, Apple continues to hold the crown when it comes to application revenues. “Revenue generated from applications on the iOS platform grew 6% month-over-month and represented 50% of the Application Platform Mix on our network, ranked by revenue, in April,” reads the report. Android is in a close second with 39% of app revenues and RIM ranked third with 9%. What are users downloading? The report states that games, mobile social networking, and music/entertainment applications are the top application categories. Millennial Media sees over 142 million unique mobile impressions on its network each month from over 5,500 different devices. More →
The brood over at PreCentral have managed to acquire a leaked copy of HP’s webOS 3.0 beta 1 software development kit (SDK). Why is this a good thing? Because contained within said SDK rests a TouchPad, webOS 3.0 emulator, of course. While emulators only provide 50% of the TouchPad story — the other half being hardware — it is useful to get a high-level overview of what user interface will look like. If you want to whet your appetite for this summers TouchPad release, hit the jump. There’s an eighteen minute video overview awaiting your scrutiny. Be sure to click through the read link as well for a host of screen grabs. More →
A new report filed by The Wall Street Journal suggests that New Jersey federal prosecutors are beginning to take a long, hard look at mobile applications. The publication writes that a grand jury will investigate whether iOS and Android applications distributed by Apple and Google “illegally obtain or transmit information about their users without proper disclosures.” Several application makers, including Pandora Media, informed the Journal that were issued subpoenas by the court, but have been told that they are not the target of the impending litigation.
“In early 2011, we were served with a subpoena to produce documents in connection with a federal grand jury, which we believe was convened to investigate the information sharing processes of certain popular applications that run on the Apple and Android mobile platforms,” Pandora noted in a regulatory filing on Monday.
The investigation aims to determine whether mobile application developers have violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act by transmitting anonymized (read: not so anonymized) data to app makers and/or third-parties. The report notes that prosecutors could charge individuals or companies with a “felony or misdemeanor” or could “pursue civil charges.” Neither Google nor Apple responded to the WSJ‘s request for comment. More →
The fate of Blockbuster is now up for auction. On Monday Blockbuster’s next owner, and future, will be decided. According to Reuters, it’s possible that a new owner could close the video rental chain, liquidate it entirely, or continue operations in a bid to compete with the likes of Netflix and the growing number of online media streaming services. Reportedly, Dish Network Corp. and Carl Icahn have already placed bids for the company, and SK Telecom is also interested. Monarch Alternative Capital LP opened the bidding at $290 million in February when Blockbuster put itself up for sale, and bids last week needed to be less than $296 million to qualify. It’s unclear how much Dish or Icahn bid on Blockbuster, but Dish Network reportedly has plans to continue building Blockbuster’s online movie offering should it win the auction. After a new owner is decided on Monday, it will have to be approved by bankruptcy judge on April 7th before the deal can move forward. Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy in September 2010. More →
On Tuesday, Amazon announced that Kindle owners that have signed up for a Kindle subscription to The New York Times will also be able to access NYT content at no additional charge. The New York Times said on March 17th that it will begin charging readers for access to its website. After reading 20 articles, readers will be prompted to sign up for subscription plans that range from $15 to $35 every four weeks, but if you own a Kindle, you could be saving a few bucks — The New York Times for Kindle costs just $19.99 per month. “New York Times readers on Kindle are a very loyal and important audience, and we are pleased to be able to include online access as part of their subscription experience,” said Yasmin Namini senior vice president, marketing and circulation, and general manager, reader applications, of The New York Times Media Group. Hit the jump for the full release. More →
According to Bloomberg’s Dina Bass, Microsoft will discontinue selling its Zune music player sometime this year. Launched in 2006, the Zune was Microsoft’s response to Apple’s iPod music player and offered us our first look at the Metro UI — the user interface now present on Windows Phone devices. According to Bass, the company will refocus its efforts on the Zune software; working to improve its functionality and usefulness on devices running Microsoft’s new mobile operating system. Microsoft declined to directly comment on the device’s future. “We have nothing to announce about another Zune device,” said a company spokesperson. “Our long-term strategy focuses on the strength of the entire Zune ecosystem across Microsoft platforms.” Zune hardware — the Zune HD — was last refreshed in September of 2009. More →
It looks like Apple has begun sending out press invites to a March 2nd media event to be held in California. The event, scheduled for 10:00AM PT, should be the official outing of the company’s oft rumored iPad 2. The invitation simply taunts its recipients to “come see what 2011 will be the year of.” Analysts are calling for a new, buttonless iPad with front and rear facing cameras along with a larger screen. Will the rumors hold water? We’ll soon find out. More →
Towards the tail-end of today’s HP media event, the company laid out its future plans for its acquired operating system, webOS. Citing a more connected, social world, the Palo Alto juggernaut promised to extend webOS beyond smartphones and tablets and on to printers (HP’s cash cow), PCs, and more. HP is one of the world’s largest printer and PC manufacturers, which makes the potential ramifications of such a move very, very interesting. All the talk has been extremely high level — no specifics — but the possibilities are seemingly endless. One thought: seeing that “PC Load Letter” printer error-message on a cute, stylish webOS notification bubble. Priceless.